Thursday, February 7, 2008

Elain and Perry Casteel's Tri-Star Winery News

Elaine (Elaine Fish DHS55) and Perry Casteel (DHS53), seen here, of Tri-Star Vineyards & Winery have joined forces with Lynchburg Cake and Candies to introduce the latest unique treat from this region - Tennessee Wine Drops.(T-G Photo by Brian Mosely)

TIMES GAZETTE, Shelbyville, Tennessee ~ Thursday, February 7, 2008 ~by Brian Mosley

A Tennessee treat is now available to the public due to two local companies combining their efforts to spread the taste of the region nationwide.

Tri-Star Vineyards and Winery on Scales Road near Halls Mill has joined forces with Lynchburg Cakes and Candies to produce Tennessee Wine Drops, a candy that winery owners Perry and Elaine Casteel hope will catch on.

Lynchburg Cakes and Candies has already had great success with its Whiskey Cakes, which went into high demand after they were featured on the Food Network and "The View" on several occasions. Billy Thomas, who formed the cake company in his back yard, has been doing a booming business for the past two years.

Thomas already makes Whiskey Drops and Whiskey Ball. Elaine Casteel said she and her husband have wanted to do something like this ever since they started the winery 13 years ago, and with Thomas just in the next county, they finally found someone to put their wine into candy.

The wine goes in the center of the chocolate candy, which is also full of pecans. The candies come in two flavors, Cherry and Chancellor, based on two of Tri-Star's 18 wine varieties. Tri-Star raises is own grapes and muscadines and buys fruits for its other fruit wines.

Elaine Casteel said if the first two candy varieties are well-received other varieties of wine may be turned into candy as well.

Perry Casteel said there is a fine balance to make sure that the wine doesn't overpower the candy. "We're going to be experimenting with that over the coming months," he said.

The drops are available from both Lynchburg Cakes and Candies and from Tri-Star, although Elaine Casteel said that Thomas' fame will likely help introduce the product. Thomas will do most of the shipping and sales of the new candy, because just operating the winery takes much of the Casteels' time and effort.

In the rear of the building is the winery itself, which the Casteels say is one of the smallest in Tennessee. Picking starts in late July and continues until the freeze starts in November. They will pick about 300 to 400 pounds of grapes in the mornings out of the five acre vineyard and then crush and destem them.

Then they transfer the juice to barrels, add some sugar and yeast and let nature begin the fermenting process. After about five days, the get the color they want. The wine is then transferred to another barrel with an airlock that keeps oxygen out while letting carbon dioxide escape as the yeast turns the sugar into alcohol.

By the end of the year-long process, the wine is ready to bottle, which is done on site. The winery sells about 5,000 to 6,000 bottles a year.

"We're really hoping that the candies will take off and become an extension of our wines," Elaine said.

The wine drops can be ordered from either or . Until the web sites are updated email Casteel's at

~~See also news article


Post a Comment